Comprehensive treatment of therapy management
As a result of comprehensive reform, the interests of the patient must become better protected and the queues for health care must become shorter. Doctors and nurses should have an opportunity to earn more money, and what is perhaps particularly important from the state’s point of view, public health money should be used reasonably, not spent in a pork-barrel manner.
I believe that everybody acknowledges that there is a need for health care reform. To put it more precisely – there has been need for such reform for a long time. The old system is obsolete.
For medical care to work effectively, the hospital network must be optimised, the relations between inpatient care and the social welfare systems clarified, the general practitioner system properly established all over Estonia, and emergency care throughout the whole country better organized. These are generally the four main objectives towards which we have started moving vigorously during recent years.
Although one of the recent market surveys indicated that many respondents were not satisfied with medical aid, this is definitely not a result of the health care reforms that are gaining momentum. Quite the contrary – this is a natural consequence of the fact that insufficient attention has been paid to bringing the system to proper order. If we would continue as we have before, our medical system would simply crumble into pieces during the next decade.
We must thank the self-denying work attitude of the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel that the system still works as well as it does. Medical workers have laboured for years for small pay and in conditions where the public health system has been legally unregulated and the medical institutions have each followed their own thinking and lived from hand to mouth. Health care is a system that encompasses the whole population and can be reformed only in a deliberate manner, step-by-step. We cannot implement a goal set for the year 2015 in five years. A person must be able to receive adequate medical aid at any moment. As one important requirement, however, the patient who has become used to “free of charge” medical aid must learn that his first representative in his relationship with the hospital is the Health Insurance Fund and his primary care provider is the family physician.